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Driscoll K. 2010. Understanding quartz technology in early prehistoric Ireland. Volumes 1 and 2. PhD thesis. UCD School of Archaeology, University College Dublin, Ireland.

Driscoll K. 2010. Understanding quartz technology in early prehistoric Ireland. Volumes 1 and 2. PhD thesis. UCD School of Archaeology, University College Dublin, Ireland.

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Published by killiandriscoll
Volumes 1 and 2 of 2. Archaeologists have only recently recognised vein quartz as a significant part of
prehistoric stone technologies in Ireland and Britain. As a raw material, quartz is
abundant in many areas of Ireland and Britain and was utilised extensively in
prehistory. However, research biases have obscured a fuller understanding of it, with the
evidence either having been overlooked or ignored. Often dismissed as a poor
alternative to flint, and impossible to analyse due to perceived irregular fracture
properties, quartz is best understood as a different material with different physical
characteristics to cryptocrystalline materials such as flint and chert that were used in
prehistory. In order to understand these different characteristics of quartz, a series of
knapping experiments using different stone working methods were conducted in order
to develop an analytical framework for quartz lithic analysis. This framework was then
used to analyse quartz assemblages from two case study assemblages – a Later
Mesolithic/Neolithic quartz scatter from Belderrig, Co. Mayo, and a Neolithic quartz
assemblage from Thornhill, Co. Londonderry. Two other experiments were conducted.
An experimental knapping assemblage was burnt in order to understand the effects of
burning on quartz and to help identify burnt quartz in the archaeological record. The
second experiment was a quartz recognition experiment which tested the identification
and classification of the experimentally knapped quartz artefacts by volunteer
participants who had varied levels of experience in analysing stone tools in general and
quartz stone tools in particular. The results of the experimental knapping, the
experimental burning, and the quartz recognition experiment have shown that the
analysis of vein quartz artefacts is certainly difficult, but not impossible – a clear
understanding of the fracture mechanics of the material as set out in the experimental
knapping helps in the analysis of vein quartz in the archaeological assemblages, and
therefore helps in understanding the prehistoric communities who chose to use this
material.
Volume 1 presents the main thesis, while Volume 2 contains the thesis appendices
and excavations plans, and the accompanying CD contains the databases created during
the project, an interactive map of Irish quartz finds, and a pdf of the thesis.
The architecture and contents of the thesis are explained in greater detail in Chapter 1.
Volumes 1 and 2 of 2. Archaeologists have only recently recognised vein quartz as a significant part of
prehistoric stone technologies in Ireland and Britain. As a raw material, quartz is
abundant in many areas of Ireland and Britain and was utilised extensively in
prehistory. However, research biases have obscured a fuller understanding of it, with the
evidence either having been overlooked or ignored. Often dismissed as a poor
alternative to flint, and impossible to analyse due to perceived irregular fracture
properties, quartz is best understood as a different material with different physical
characteristics to cryptocrystalline materials such as flint and chert that were used in
prehistory. In order to understand these different characteristics of quartz, a series of
knapping experiments using different stone working methods were conducted in order
to develop an analytical framework for quartz lithic analysis. This framework was then
used to analyse quartz assemblages from two case study assemblages – a Later
Mesolithic/Neolithic quartz scatter from Belderrig, Co. Mayo, and a Neolithic quartz
assemblage from Thornhill, Co. Londonderry. Two other experiments were conducted.
An experimental knapping assemblage was burnt in order to understand the effects of
burning on quartz and to help identify burnt quartz in the archaeological record. The
second experiment was a quartz recognition experiment which tested the identification
and classification of the experimentally knapped quartz artefacts by volunteer
participants who had varied levels of experience in analysing stone tools in general and
quartz stone tools in particular. The results of the experimental knapping, the
experimental burning, and the quartz recognition experiment have shown that the
analysis of vein quartz artefacts is certainly difficult, but not impossible – a clear
understanding of the fracture mechanics of the material as set out in the experimental
knapping helps in the analysis of vein quartz in the archaeological assemblages, and
therefore helps in understanding the prehistoric communities who chose to use this
material.
Volume 1 presents the main thesis, while Volume 2 contains the thesis appendices
and excavations plans, and the accompanying CD contains the databases created during
the project, an interactive map of Irish quartz finds, and a pdf of the thesis.
The architecture and contents of the thesis are explained in greater detail in Chapter 1.

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: killiandriscoll on Jul 20, 2010
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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08/30/2011

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original

 
 
Understanding
 
quartz
 
technology
 
in
 
early
 
prehistoric
 
Ireland
 
Volume
 
1
 
of 
 
2
 
Killian
 
Driscoll
 
The
 
thesis
 
is
 
submitted
 
to
 
University
 
College
 
Dublin
 
for
 
the
 
degree
 
of 
 
PhD
 
in
 
the
 
College
 
of 
 
 Arts
 
&
 
Celtic
 
Studies
 
January
 
2010
 
UCD
 
School
 
of 
 
 Archaeology
 
Head
 
of 
 
School:
 
Professor
 
Gabriel
 
Cooney
 
Supervisor:
 
Dr.
 
Graeme
 
Warren
 
 
Table
 
of 
 
Contents
 
Volume
 
1
 
1
Summary
 
...................................................................................................................
i
 
...........................................................................................................
 
1
.........................................................................................................
 
 
1
................................................................................................
 
 
1
........................................................................................
 
1
 
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1
 
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5
 
................................................................................................
8
 
......................................................................................
9
 
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2
............................................................
 
 
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3
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................................................................................................
 
................................................................................
 
Conclusion..................................................................................................
 
 
4
Ireland............................................
 
 
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......................................................................
 
.............................................
 
retouch......................
 
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5
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....
 
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Conclusion................................................................................................
 
6
...............................................
 
 
.............................................................................................
 
..................................
 
......................................................................................
 
...............................................................
 
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.................................................................................
 
....................................................................................................
 

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